Barragan, Giselle, Kai'Sa, Xie Lian and D.Va.

These are all characters from Japanese and Chinese video games and series.

At the Main Matsuri Festival in Sachsenhausen last weekend, however, they could all be experienced analogously, performed by so-called cosplayers.

These are people who embody a protagonist as true to the original as possible - not only does the costume have to be right, but the charisma is also important.

The costumes are elaborately made, but the attention to detail is worth it, because the recognition value is high;

"You are..." can be heard several times on Walther-von-Cronberg-Platz.

Many visitors want to be photographed with Barragan, "King of Evil Souls" from the manga "Bleach", because he looks so convincingly real.

The cosplayer who embodies Barragan has been on the scene for a year.

He made his costume himself.

He made the skull, under which he hides his face, out of foam rubber and the modeling clay-like "Foamplay", then he shaded the mask with paint.

Is it hot under the mask and cape?

"Yes, but we expect to sweat." Barragan's companions are disguised as Giselle and Kai'Sa.

Giselle is from the same manga as Barragan, Kai'Sa is a character from the video game League of Legends.

The two have been making cosplay for eight years, the community is well represented in the internet world,

Friendships have also been made via forums and social media.

The cosplay community “exploded” due to Corona, they say.

"Everyone was in isolation and needed a hobby."

"Giselle" actually works at Thalia and has also noticed in the work environment that animes are increasingly in demand.

Exchange is important

The actress who plays Xie Lian, a character from the series "Heaven Official's Blessing", has been attending conventions, i.e. events where anime and manga fans meet, for the past four years.

Today she is wearing a long, white robe and a brown long-haired wig.

She bought the costume because sometimes the fabric is so expensive that it's not worth sewing it yourself.

She travels from Mannheim every day for the three-day festival, "the 9-euro ticket makes it cheaper than a hotel".

Her personal highlight on the Main Matsuri is the exchange with other cosplayers.

It's easy to strike up a conversation, especially with people from the same series or video game.

She thinks it's all the nicer to be able to meet "offline" again.

D.Va is a heroine from the video game Overwatch.

At the age of 13, her now nineteen-year-old actress watched anime and discovered conventions for herself.

She has always loved dressing up, which is why she started cosplaying last year.

Previously, the costumes were too expensive for her, because as a rule you embody a different character every day of a convention.

The exchange with the other cosplayers is also important to her, and she also notices the special food, because "some Japanese dishes are rarely found in Germany".

Samurais are also represented on the Main Matsuri.

The Japanese sword dance group “Ideal” traveled all the way from Tokyo for their performance.

The performance is a mixture of dance and sword fighting, accented by collective shouts.

The movements of the four actors are light-footed and graceful, the sword strikes powerful.

After the performance, the audience is invited to join in.

The sword is imitated with a piece of paper rolled lengthways, imitating the sword strokes performed on stage.

Then five chosen ones present what they have learned on stage.

Veronika is the first to enter the stage.

The young woman is given the sword of a samurai and performs a sequence of blows with her opponent.

The samurai standing next to her guides her,

the two communicate through body language.

Veronika successfully brings the samurai she is fighting against to his knees.

The successors also do this with flying colors.

While you can only marvel at the samurai again on Sunday afternoon, a cosplay contest takes place on Saturday afternoon.

Various dance performances and a magic show follow.

On Sunday, the last day of the festival, dance performances and a cosplay show are also on the program in addition to the samurai performance.

Admission to Matsuri Festival closes at 9:45pm on Saturday and 5:45pm on Sunday.